Veteran - Edwardian - Vintage

A section devoted to old-car matters

More on Rolls-Royce

It is sometimes thought that in the days when the 40/50 h.p. Silver Ghost was the current Rolls-Royce model only the chassis was supplied by Derby and that customers had to order bodywork from a coachbuilder of their choice. While the latter practice was prevalent, complete cars were, in fact, listed in the Rolls-Royce catalogues of the time. For instance, in pre-war days R-R listed various bodies on the Ghost chassis, whose 70th. anniversary it is this year. There was the London-Edinburgh touring car, priced at £1,314 7s 8d. of Edwardian money, the torpedo-phaeton (£1,294 12s 8d.), the landaulette (£1,408 0s 2d.), the cabriolet (£1,363 3s 2d.), the limousine (£1,388 3s 2d.) and the double-limousine (£1,470 10s 2d.). These prices were inclusive of CAV dynamo electric lighting, a grooved Dunlop tyre for the spare wheel, brackets and straps for same (£3 10/-), an Elliott speedometer incorporating clock and distance-recorder, a tool-box and, on the closed cars, a speaking-tube to the driver. In addition, the listed prices included accessories which R-R said "usually required". These cost a total of £13 3/and comprised a Cobra bulb-horn, a lifting-jack, tyre-pump, leather tool roll, tyre-repair outfit, petrol-funnel, and the registration fee and number plates, the last two items costing £1 17s 6d.

In the nineteen-twenties the coachwork types listed were an open touring car, an enclosed-drive limousine and a saloon cabriolet which would convert into an open car, as would the Salamanca cabriolet. There were also a landaulette, with openable rearquarters, a 3/4-cabriolet and an enclosed-drive cabriolet. It may not he generally known that these car and body types had R-R code-names. Respectively, these were : "Platinium" for the £1,850 chassis. "Radium" for the £1,900 long chassis, "Diamond' for the £2,370 4-seater open touring car, "Pearl" for £2,510 two-door saloon-cabriolet, "Sardius" for the £2,700 landaulette, "Ruby" for the £2,700 limousine, "Opal" for the £2,700 Salamanca cabriolet, "Sapphire" for the £2,725 3/4-cabriolet, "Onyx" for the £2,800 enclosed-drive limousine, and "Topaz" for the £2,850 enclosed-drive cabriolet. Actually, although Rolls-Royce listed these bodies, they were made by outside coachbuilders, and it was stated that prices would vary according to the maker and, of course, customers' special requirements were carefully considered. Those were the days when it was an unforgettable .experience to order a new car and when Concours de'Elegance, contested between cars carrying coachwork to their owner's own ideas, really had significance.--W.B.

VSCC Madresfield (Sept. 12th)

Having campained for more support for its annual Madresfield Driving Tests, held on the famous mile-long Gloucester Drive at the Duke of Beauchamp's estate (where real speed-trials were once held), the VSCC was rewarded this year with 64, but fewer Concours d'Elegance contestants this time. The latter was won by J. M. Walker's elegant 1913 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost tourer. The tests were to the usual pattern. We saw Mrs. Kain going unbelievably slowly in the Type 44 in the crawl-accelerate affair, thus proving that Buggatis are not fierce cars. In contrast, Garfitt's Type 379 Frazer Nash-BMW galloped along! In a complicated test in which tyre pressure had to be checked, reversing decently accomplished, acceleration tested and parking prowess judged, with some braking thrown in, Wood stalled his s.v. Riley's engine, Bullett drove his Austin Chummy like a bullet, its rear wheel spinning neatly into the parking-lot, Macmillan made a quiet changeup in his 1928 Rolls-Royce, Harris found dog-swopping rather fraught, on his TT Replica Frazer Nash and whereas Hill just tipped a marker. in his OM, the Air-Commodore did his best to "buckle" one, with his Lancia Lambda. The athletic Ghosh was very good, in his 30/98, which Elsom also drove, instead of his Humber—he was seen to be praying, during the slow-running test! Felix Day was among those who reversed swervily in his Frazer Nash, Marsh crunched the 30/98 cogs, and a very smart MG Magna shot off the road when reversing but quickly recovered from this effect of quick steering and reversed castor-action, Others stalled their engines, and Mrs. Thetford left her 12-60 Alvis in gear when she jumped out to grab the tyre-gauge—fortunately the engine also elected to stall, before disaster struck. But it is so easy for an onlooker to criticise!

Hirst's 12/50 Alvis spent much time quietly ticking-over, unattended, to get properly warm and Fountain's Riley protested at braking in reverse with a lit of the shudders.

Rare competing cars were Erskin's Type 50 Erskine saloon and Shaw's 13/70 Marendaz, Special. Neve courageously tackled the rather unsuitable tests in the 1914 TT Humber, road-equipped so that it would be accepted as a "modified sports-car". Hamish Moffatt came on his vintage Scott and we noticed a Th. Schneider tourer in the car park. Now for the celebrated VSCC Welsh week-end on October 9-10th.—W.B.